UH dorms brace
for reaction to new
rules limiting alcohol
For some students, college means drinking -- regardless of age.
But Janice Chu Camara, the University of Hawaii at Manoa interim housing director, is working to keep alcohol out of dorm life. And she and her more than 50 resident dorm advisers say they're up for the challenge.
Since classes resumed on Aug. 22, they've been educating students on a new no-alcohol policy for certain dorms and other alcohol-related rules. Camara said she's gotten numerous complaints about the rules and faces opposition from several student government leaders.
"Anytime you have change, it's a challenge," she said between sessions at a workshop yesterday for resident advisers, who spent their first Saturday since coming back from summer vacation learning how to talk to peers about drinking, police their dorms and watch for signs of alcohol poisoning.
Grant Teichman, president of the Associated Students of the University of Hawaii, says he's skeptical the new alcohol rules can be successfully enforced. He and others are pushing for them to be re-evaluated.
"I just don't see that our school has an alcohol problem," he said, adding that student leaders weren't consulted about the changes before they were approved.
"They didn't ask student government to be involved."
Camara said the new rules include:
» No drinking in certain dorms, especially those whose residents are predominantly under 21;
» No drinking in the presence of a student under the legal limit;
» New procedures at dormitory front desks to ensure each student is bringing in only one guest at a time.
She said students in "dry," or no-alcohol, dorms will be under a three-strikes rule. First they'll get a warning. Then they'll get a write-up. After a third violation, they'll be reprimanded and could be kicked out.
"We know the first few weeks, everybody's going to challenge it," she said. "It's the typical reaction. ... But underage drinking is illegal."
Mary A. Hill, who travels the country talking about alcohol abuse at universities, told the students at yesterday's day-long training in Waikiki that it would be tough in the beginning trying to convince dorm residents to abide by the rules. She said they would have "to be really strict at first."
"People will follow what you say," she added, "if you build a relationship with them."
Katie Vincent doesn't think it will be that easy. The freshman lives in a "dry" dorm and says the no-alcohol policy is unneeded and unwanted by many students. She said students still drink in the dorms.
"I just think it's stupid," she said as she walked to her dorm with roommate Sara Zeidenberg last night.
Juniors Cassie Ammen and Sandra Paake were also headed to their dorm, but they are happy it is an alcohol-free one. "It's a good idea," Ammen said. "People still drink, though."
UH-Manoa resident advisers were not allowed to talk to reporters.